One of the most common challenges that my clients face is the struggle to model healthy eating habits and behaviors while trying to lose weight. We want our children to love their body as it is and to nourish it. Yet, when you’re trying to lose weight some of your actions may seem contradictory to the behaviors we want for our children.
For example, if you’re tracking macros then you might be weighing and measuring your food intake. This level of control over what you eat may not be the message that you want to send to your young sons and daughters. Over the next few posts, I’m going to lay out some tips and advice about sending the right message to your children about nutrition, health, weight, and self image. Today, let’s start with talking about the language that you use.
Your Diet and Nutrition Language
One of the things that I strongly believe in is that our weight loss goals should be focused on better health and in many instances to achieve better health, you have to lose weight. That being said, any of the steps my coaching clients take are designed for better health with weight loss as a side benefit. For example, if we’re cutting back on starchy carbs we’re cutting them out to help balance blood sugar, improve metabolism, reduce inflammation and so on. A byproduct of cutting back on starchy carbs is also weight loss.
The focus on your mindset, and your language, matters.
When Talking to Your Kids (and to yourself,) Use Language that Focuses on Health (not weight and appearance)
If your child asks you why you won’t eat bread or why you’re measuring your food, instead of saying “mom’s jeans are too tight” or “I’m trying to lose weight” you can say something like, “I’m working hard to get healthier and that means reducing how much of these non-nutritious foods I eat. I have to weigh my food right now so I can learn how to make healthier decisions.”
This week, pay attention to the language that you use when you’re talking about your current health habits, your health and weight loss goals, and your appearance. Your children pick up on what you say as much as they pick up on what you do. Your language matters. If you want your children to grow up with a healthy body image, it’s important that you model that for them. Focus on health over appearance and when they ask for something that is unhealthy to eat (like kids always do), let them know that sometimes it’s okay to have these kinds of foods, but most of the time we want to eat foods that are nutritious.